Writing is a demanding task, there's truly no easy way about it - at least for me. I condition myself to just write during my disciplined writing time (usually late evenings or in the wee hours of the morning) or during odd breaks in my work day (guerrilla writing).
I'm not rolling over in delight at the paucity of my spec fic inventory (completed stories that I consider publishable). Right now, I have:
- Strange Weather - off to a magazine to seek its fortune
- Poor, Poor Luisa - ready to send...somewhere
- Once Upon A Time (used to be "Listing")- off to the Free Press by Monday
- Something Like That - off to an antho call
- In the Dim Plane - accepted (PGS), and therefore formally out of inventory
- Princes of the Sultanate - ditto (Story Phil)
- Princess Ribbit (co-written with Nikki) - ditto
- two older stories for another antho - pending acceptance
- The Many Loves of Ramil Alonzo - done, but for one last bit of poetry ("poetry?!" - I know, I know, but hopefully the prose mitigates the verses
In a folder marked "Fiction 2007", I have some stories that I'm working on. These are in various distressing states, from a couple of thousand words to simply notes. I'll attempt to complete one or two by the end of the month. When my first collection comes out, I'd like to have a respectable number of new stories - if these would just cooperate.
- The Levitation of Princess Karnak - which continues to confound me. I am near my breaking point and am readying myself to simply dump this mess of words.
- Saint - which I think I am not technically capable of writing at this time in my life. There are some complex issues to be solved that leave me scratching my head and opting to play Acquire over at GetHostile instead.
- Walking Goodbye - I started, only to stop when I realized that I was revisiting the very theme of L'Aquilone du Estrellas - Gah.
- The Gondola of Tears - another Forlorn story. Forlorn is a world shared by Vin Simbulan and myself. We take turns writing stories to define this strange and terrible world. My concession to traditional fantasy (and it makes my best friend happy).
- Chasing Aurora - one of the novelists I admire wrote that her first exposure to my fiction was this incomplete piece (you know how I usually post vignettes or works-in-progress here). Happily, I was tinkering with the story every now and then. It seems I need to roll up my sleeves on this one.
- Smoke Signals - Which began as an attempt at erotica but crossed the line to porn. Sigh.
- Red - I was inspired by Nikki's Emberwilde (which was wonderfully cited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant in last year's Year's Best, along with Vin's In the Arms of Beishu and Kit Kwe's Lovelore), which was set in a bordello. So of course I had to have my own bordello story - which is developing very very slowly.
Now the thing is, the stories in this folder are not even guaranteed. I keep them because of their potential, but am as likely to start something new as complete any one of them. In the folder marked "Fiction 2006" are stories that are truly dead, including one that I was trying to write for almost two years, but just gave up on, The Muse of Graveltown. It had a nice little conceit but was a pain in the ass. So, goodbye, goodbye.
And there is the spectre of the next novel. I have two ideas that I'm considering. One is linked to Salamanca, but set earlier, like a prequel of sorts. I need to do a lot of research but I've already made friends with the librarians over at the Ortigas Foundation. The other one is more suited for young adults, a fantasy about an irritable boy. The thing is, I'd like to write both but find myself dismayed with the thought of the time I'll need. We'll see what happens. After all, with Anvil Fantasy a sudden welcome reality, there is a market for spec fic novels now (I can always hope, right?).
To be perfectly honest, there are times I simply want to vegetate. But after a while, a kind of writerly guilt overcomes me (well, most of the time - there are times I just give it the finger) and I boot up my laptop and stare at the blank screen until something gives.
Anyway, as my good buddy Marco says, it's back to salt mines.